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NNN(1) General Commands Manual NNN(1)


the missing terminal file manager for X


nnn [-b key] [-C] [-e] [-i] [-l] [-p file] [-S] [-v] [-h] [PATH]


nnn (Noice is Not Noice) is a performance-optimized, feature-packed fork of noice ( with seamless desktop integration, simplified navigation, navigate-as-you-type mode with auto select, disk usage analyzer mode, bookmarks, contexts, application launcher, familiar navigation shortcuts, subshell spawning and much more. It remains a simple and efficient file manager that stays out of your way.

nnn opens the current working directory by default if PATH is not specified.


nnn supports both vi-like and emacs-like key bindings as listed below.


Move to previous entry
Move to next entry
Scroll up half a page
Scroll down half a page
Move to the first entry
Move to the last entry
Go to parent directory
Open file or enter directory
Change to the HOME directory
Change to initial directory
Change to the last visited directory
Toggle show hidden . (dot) files
Change filter (more information below)
Toggle navigate-as-you-type mode
Pin current directory
Visit pinned directory
Toggle detail view
Next context, ask to create if none
Leader key
Switch to context N
Exit prompt
Force a redraw, clear prompt
Quit the current context
Quit and change directory
Help and configuration screen


Open with an application (takes 1 combined argument)
Create a new file or directory
Show entry details
Rename selected entry
Open directory in vidir
Toggle selection mode
Copy entry absolute path
Show selection list
Copy files from selection
Move files from selection
Delete files from selection
Delete entry
Archive entry
List files in archive
Extract archive in current directory
Show brief/full media info
Open entry in EDITOR (fallback vi)
Open entry in PAGER (fallback less)


Toggle disk usage analyzer mode
Toggle sort by apparent size
Toggle sort by time modified
Toggle sort by file size


Spawn SHELL in current directory (fallback sh)
Execute entry
Run or choose a custom script
Lock terminal
Run a command

Backing up one directory level will set the cursor position at the directory you came out of.

Help & settings, file details, media info and archive listing are shown in the PAGER. Please use the PAGER-specific keys in these screens.


nnn supports the following options:

-b key
specify bookmark key to open

disable directory color

use exiftool instead of mediainfo

start in navigate-as-you-type mode

start in light mode (fewer details)

-p file
copy (or pick) selection to file, or stdout if file='-'

start in disk usage analyzer mode

show version and exit

show program help and exit


nnn uses xdg-open (on Linux) and open(1) (on macOS) as the desktop opener.

There is no configuration file. Settings work on environment variables. Please refer to the ENVIRONMENT section below.

Configuring nnn to change to the last visited directory on quit requires shell integration in a few easy steps. Please visit the project page (linked below) for the instructions.


Contexts serve the purpose of exploring multiple directories simultaneously. 4 contexts are available. The status of the contexts are shown in the top left corner:

- the current context is in reverse
- other used contexts are underlined
- rest are unused

To switch to a context press the Leader key followed by the context number (1-4).

The first time a context is entered, it copies the state of the last visited context. Each context remembers its start directory and last visited directory.

When a context is quit, the next active context is selected. If the last active context is quit, the program quits.


Filters support regexes to instantly (search-as-you-type) list the matching entries in the current directory.

Ways to exit filter prompt:

(1) press ^L to clear filter followed by Bksp (to clear the filter symbol, like vi)
- at other prompts ^L followed by Enter discards all changes and exits prompt
(2) run a search with no matches and press Enter

Common use cases:

(1) To list all matches starting with the filter expression, start the expression with a '^' (caret) symbol.
(2) Type '\.mkv' to list all MKV files.
(3) Use '.*' to match any character (sort of fuzzy search).

If nnn is invoked as root or the environment variable NNN_SHOW_HIDDEN is set the default filter will also match hidden files.

In the navigate-as-you-type mode directories are opened in filter mode, allowing continuous navigation. Works best with the arrow keys.
In case of only one match and it's a directory, `nnn` auto selects the directory and enters it in this mode.


The absolute path of a single file can be copied to clipboard by pressing ^K if NNN_COPIER is set (see ENVIRONMENT section below).

To copy multiple file paths the selection mode should be enabled using ^Y. In this mode it's possible to

(1) cherry-pick individual files one by one by pressing <kbd>^K</kbd> on each entry (works across directories and contexts); or,
(2) navigate to another file in the same directory to select a range of files.

Pressing ^Y again copies the paths and exits the selection mode. The files in the list can now be copied, moved or removed using respective keyboard shortcuts.

To list the file paths copied to memory press y.


The SHELL, EDITOR (VISUAL, if defined) and PAGER environment variables take precedence when dealing with the !, e and p commands respectively. A single combination to arguments is supported, e.g.:
    export EDITOR='vim -xR'

NNN_BMS: bookmark string as key_char:location pairs (max 10) separated by ;:

    export NNN_BMS='d:~/Documents;u:/home/user/Cam Uploads;D:~/Downloads/'

    NOTE: Bookmark keys should be single-character to use them in combination with the Leader key.

NNN_USE_EDITOR: use EDITOR (preferably CLI, fallback vi) to handle text files.

    export NNN_USE_EDITOR=1

NNN_CONTEXT_COLORS: string of color codes for each context, e.g.:

    export NNN_CONTEXT_COLORS="1234"

    codes: 0-black, 1-red, 2-green, 3-yellow, 4-blue (default), 5-magenta, 6-cyan, 7-white

NNN_IDLE_TIMEOUT: set idle timeout (in seconds) to invoke terminal locker (default: disabled).

NNN_COPIER: set to a clipboard copier script.

    NOTE: By default file paths are copied to the tmp file DIR/.nnncp, where 'DIR' (by priority) is:
    $HOME or, $TMPDIR or, /tmp.
    The path is shown in the help and configuration screen.

NNN_SCRIPT: absolute path to a directory to select a script from or a single script to invoke with currently selected file name as argument 1.

    export NNN_SCRIPT=/home/user/scripts
    export NNN_SCRIPT=/usr/local/bin/

NNN_SHOW_HIDDEN: show hidden files.

    export NNN_SHOW_HIDDEN=1

NNN_NO_AUTOSELECT: disable directory auto-selection in navigate-as-you-type mode.

    export NNN_NO_AUTOSELECT=1

DISABLE_FILE_OPEN_ON_NAV: disable file open on Right or l keys (Enter opens files).



If you are using urxvt you might have to set backspace key to DEC.


Lazaros Koromilas <>,
Dimitris Papastamos <>,
Arun Prakash Jana <>.

January 1, 2019 Linux 4.19.0-10-amd64